November Luncheon

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meeting Topic:
Second R&O and Further Notice in the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction Proceeding

On October 16, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that further sets the stage for the implementation of the Broadcast Television Incentive Auction (FCC 14-157; GN Docket No. 12-268).  The action adopts a methodology to be used during the auction to predict inter-service interference between television and wireless services that operate on co-channel or adjacent channels in close geographic proximity in the 600 MHz band.  It also considers and rejects requests for additional limits on potential new interference between television stations that may be experienced as a result of the repacking process.  In addition, the action proposes new rules governing inter-service interference in the 600 MHz band post-auction.  The proposed rules seek to protect broadcasters that will operate co-channel or adjacent channel to wireless operations in markets with variation from the near nation-wide band plan following the auction.
Don’t forget, the FCC Reception at the National Press Club begins this same day at 4:00 PM!  Please register for that event separately.

About the presenter:

Barbara Pavón joined the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology in May of 2013 where she has focused on technical issues associated with the Broadcast Incentive Auction.  Immediately prior to joining the FCC,  Ms. Pavón worked as a Program Manager contracted to the Department of Defense Spectrum Planning Office where she oversaw the successful coordination between wireless carriers and the military services during the AWS-1 spectrum transition.  Much of her early career was spent working as a RF consulting engineer for various wireless carriers in the U.S. and abroad in Germany and Australia.  She holds a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Masters in Business Administration from George Mason University.

Click here for online payment and RSVP

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AFCCE Symposium explores AM enhancement

Over 50 members and guests attended the second annual AFCCE symposium on October 30 in Rosslyn, VA.
AFCCE member and Spectrum Velocity CTO Dr. Chris Horne, PE, spoke on the detrimental impact of noise sources on AM reception and called for stricter enforcement of noise regulations.
AFCCE member and Senior Director, Advanced Engineering at NAB, David Layer, spoke on methodology and results of field trials for all-digital iBiquity-standard AM across the country.
FCC Audio Division Senior Counsel Tom Nessinger shared some personal observations on FCC actions related to AM revitalization.
And AFCCE member and duTreil, Lundin and Rackley, Inc. partner Ron Rackley, PE, presented a historical view of AM antenna systems.
The group was also treated to a demonstration of an enhanced AM reception platform by AFCCE member and Kintronic Labs President Tom King.
For more information, see coverage of the seminar from the pages of Communications Daily here (AFCCE Seminar Comm Daily).

 

AFCCE 2nd Annual Symposium

 The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers
announces its second annual
Symposium
featuring

A Focus on AM Broadcasting, Past, Present, and Future

Thursday, Oct. 30:  Holiday Inn Key Bridge
Rosslyn, VA
The symposium will begin with lunch at 11:30 in the Dogwood Room. Presentations will occur in the Ballroom.
Click here for online payment and RSVP

First Session
First talk 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM
“Improving the AM band – Why noise quality is more important today than ever before”
Chris Horne, Co-founder and CTO of Spectrum Velocity, LLC, Raleigh, NC

Second talk 1:50 PM to 2:40 PM
“NAB labs all-digital AM test project”
David Layer, Senior Director, Advanced Engineering in NAB’s Technology Department, Washington, DC

Coffee Break 2:40 PM to 3:00 PM

Second session
FCC comments 3:00 PM to 3:20 PM,
“Status update on the AM Revitalization Proceeding”
Tom Nessinger, Senior Counsel in the Audio Division, Media Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission

Third talk 3:20 PM to 4:30 PM,
“AM radio station transmitting antenna evolution from Marconi-inspired wire arrangements to multi-tower arrays”
Ron Rackley, Principal and Senior Engineer at du Treil, Lundin & Rackley, Inc., Sarasota, Florida

Cost for lunch and the seminar: $99
Cost for the seminar alone:             70
Cost for the lunch alone                    45

Register online today!

Luncheon Menu :  Chicken Cordon Bleu, Seasonal Vegetables with Rice, Tossed Salad, Rolls and Butter, Key Lime Pie for Dessert

If there are any special dietary requests, please send you request to John Reiser no later than Monday, October 27th.

Please plan to stay after the seminar and enjoy the Annual AFCCE Fall Social, to be held at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn beginning with cocktails at 5:30 pm.  Please register separately for this event.  Proceeds benefit the AFCCE Scholarship Fund.

 

Register for the AFCCE Fall Social

AFCCE invites all members and their families and guests to the Annual Fall Social, to be held at the Vantage Point Restaurant atop the Holiday Inn Rosslyn, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, beginning with cocktails at 5:30 pm.  This is immediately following the AFCCE Symposium.
The Fall Social is the main fundraising event for the AFCCE Scholarship Fund.
Please go to http://afcce.org/events/ to register.
Please view the full brochure here: AFCCE Fall Social Notice 2014.
Sponsors for the Fall Social are another key part of our ability to award AFCCE scholarships.  If you were a sponsor last year, or can be one this year, please contact Eric Wandel at eric@wavepointresearch.com to set it all up.
Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Fall Social!

FCC acts on millimeter-wave spectrum and on broadcast/wireless interference

The following was written by Steve Crowley, PE, chairman of the AFCCE Rules and Standards Committee:
The FCC has approved two items that AFCCE might be interested in commenting on. One, adopted October 16, is a Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that, among other things, seeks comment on proposed rules to govern the interference relationship between broadcast and wireless in the 600 MHz Band following the incentive auction. The other, adopted October 17, is a Notice of Inquiry into the use of spectrum above 24 GHz for mobile broadband.
If you have comments on these you’d like to see AFCCE file, please post them here before November 30. I propose proceeding with the preparation of any AFCCE comments in a manner similar to what I describe in the October 1 post below on the TV white space NPRM. If there are any questions, please contact me at Secretary@afcce.org. Check back here for any updates.

 

FCC eases NEPA rules to help broadband; call for comments

The following was written by AFCCE FCC Liaison Don Everist:
Ben Dawson has made a cursory examination of WT Docket No. 13-238 (see 13-238 NR (10-20-14) ). He directs attention to Paragraphs 145 and 181 regarding replacement structures, etc. :
145. Section 6409(a) includes a number of undefined terms that bear directly on how the provision applies to infrastructure deployments. Below, we address the meaning of “wireless tower or base station,” “transmission equipment,” “collocation,” and “substantially changes the physical dimensions.”
181. We agree with Alexandria et al., however, that “replacement,” as used in Section 6409(a)(2)( C), relates only to the replacement of “transmission equipment,” and that such equipment does not include the structure on which the equipment is located.  (Alexandria et al. Comments at 31 (arguing that replacement of a tower is not a “modification” of it and that Congress knew how to address “replacement” when that was its intent).
Even under the condition that it would not substantially change the physical dimensions of the structure, replacement of an entire structure may affect or implicate local land use values differently than the addition, removal, or replacement of transmission equipment, and we find no textual support for the conclusion that Congress intended to extend mandatory approval to new structures. Thus, we decline to interpret “eligible facilities requests” to include replacement of the underlying structure.
Ben recommends that AFCCE consider a Petition for Reconsideration.  If you are so inclined please leave a comment or contact me.

FCC adopts TV white space NPRM

The following was written by Steve Crowley, PE, chairman of the AFCCE Rules and Standards Committee:

On September 30 the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing, among other things, changes to Part 15 rules governing unlicensed operation in the TV band (TV white space), and new rules for operation in the duplex gap and guard bands of the forthcoming 600 MHz mobile band. The stated intent is to “allow for more robust service and efficient spectral use without increasing the risk of harmful interference to authorized users.”

The Notice can be found here: FCC-14-144A1   .

In addition to my role as AFCCE Secretary, I’m Chairman of its Rules and Standards Committee. I’m soliciting input from those who would like AFCCE to comment in this proceeding. If you have comments to suggest, please make them as comments to this post.

I’ll volunteer to serve as editor. Once views are expressed, I’ll work with those commenting to facilitate consensus and assemble the views into a draft filing. As a check, I propose to send the draft to the AFCCE Board of Directors for final approval.

The FCC comment deadline is 45 days after the date of publication of the Notice in the Federal Register. (Reply comment, 65 days). To facilitate a timely comment filing, please send any comments and proposed text by October 31, 2014. If there are any questions, please contact me at Secretary@afcce.org. Check back here for updates on this topic.

September Luncheon

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meeting Topic:
Web-Based Engineering Tools

What web-based services do you offer your clients?  AFCCE members Mark Colombo (rabbitears.info) and Mike Rhodes (fccinfo.com) will discuss some of the enhanced query and analysis features on websites they maintain, enabling client-side functionality with more detail than FCC.gov web-based tools.  Utilizing official FCC database sources, these services are made available at no cost to their users.  Mark and Mike will discuss some of the motivating factors and implementation challenges they experienced along the way.  They will also discuss how offering such services can have the potential of leading to new business opportunities as well as improvements in time management, each having a positive effect on profitability.

Presentation slides from the meeting can be downloaded here:
September 2014 Luncheon Presentation – FCCInfo.com Continue reading

Tom King Advocates AM Upgrades

From Radio World, Sept. 5, 2014:
AM systems manufacturer Kintronic Labs has several suggestions
for how the FCC can help revitalize the AM band. President Tom King plans to share those with Commissioner Ajit Pai and Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle in a meeting this month.
In advance of that meeting, King is promoting an “open letter to the industry” in which he ask broadcasters to contact Pai and Doyle in support of his recommendations, to let them know “how imperative it is that these measures be implemented on a fast approval track” to make AM competitive with FM.  Here’s the letter:  Kintronic Letter
The manufacturer has a keen interest in AM revitalization; its products are used in numerous facilities, and the company markets itself as “the oldest continually operating AM antenna system provider in the U.S.” Founder Louis King resigned from RCA in 1949 as an AM high-power transmitter design engineer, obtained his PE license and established a business as a regional broadcast consulting engineer that grew into Kintronic Labs. (Read a company history.)
Among the items listed by Tom King for urgent action are these that go beyond what many commenters have suggested:
-Establishment of mandatory minimum technical standards for AM receivers to become effective “as soon as January 2016.” In a demo, he plans to compare CQUAM AM stereo reception with a local FM station as well as the effects of adjusting AM bandwidth from 2.5 to 10 kHz in 2.5 kHz steps. He provides a list of specific minimum allowable performance specifications for all AM receivers, including a low internal noise floor, high RF sensitivity, selectivity and dynamic range and highly effective noise cancellation.
-FCC authorization of AM synchronous boosters, a technically challenging idea that has received less attention than FM translator discussions.
King also urges the commission to enforce RF limits for consumer electronics devices, noting the worsening electromagnetic environment for AM.

From Tom Taylor NOW, Sept. 9:
An AM quality manifesto from Tom King at Kintronic.
He’s pitching three key ideas, starting with a widespread problem that’s going to be very hard to put back in the bottle – interference from “the power distribution industry and [products sold by] the consumer electronics industry.” King says the FCC simply isn’t enforcing its existing rules, “resulting in a constantly worsening electromagnetic environment” for AM. Not only are lights and power lines a problem – so are computers and smartphones, which all contribute to the noise that makes AM reception scratchy. King’s point #2 is “the need for parity between AM and FM receivers through the establishment of minimum technical standards for AM receivers.” King’s not the first engineer to showcase how good AM can sound, and it really can. He’s pointing toward engineering questions like the noise floor, sensitivity of the receiver and noise rejection. (King’s also harking back to AM stereo, to put the medium on-par with FM stereo.) Point #3 is “the need for FCC authorization of AM synchronous boosters.” Tom King says “unlike FM translators, such on-channel boosters would serve to increase the AM stations’ audiences while maintaining the future viability of the band.” If those sound like worthy goals, King says “we need the full support and backing of you, the AM broadcasters, to be able to communicate to FCC Commission Ajit Pai and Audio Media Chief Peter Doyle.” Tom’s asking supporters to email the simple message “I approve” to KTL@Kintronic.com.